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Getting Your Teaching Certification Online

Sep 21, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

If you want to teach in a public school in the US, there are a few educational standards you must meet to get hired. First, you’ll need a Bachelor’s degree. And while specifics vary by state, most states require that you major in the subject you plan to teach—such as English or biology. Some states require that you work toward a Masters degree in education during your first few years of employment. And all states require teacher certification in addition.

Teaching certification is separate from both a online bachelor’s degree and a online master’s degree. It provides training in child psychology and education strategies for the grade level or levels you plan to teach in.

In some states, teaching certification can be earned in a summer—while in others, it can take as long as an academic year. Either way, you’ll need to pass an examination at the end in order to earn the certification.

Online teacher certification programs can be tempting to anyone who wants to work full-time while earning a
certification. But while it’s possible to earn your teaching certification online in
some situations, it isn’t always. Here are a few things to consider when
it comes to getting your teacher certification online.

Teacher School

Earning your certification isn’t easy—and the qualifications for teaching in public schools have grown more difficult since No Child Left Behind.

Online certification depends on state requirements

Requirements vary from state to state, and while some states allow online certifications, many require at least a certain number of traditional classes. Be sure to contact your state department of education to find out before you commit to any online teaching certification program.

You’ll have to make arrangements for student teaching

Pretty much all certification programs in all states require some kind of student teaching experience in order to earn certification. If you’re earning your teacher certification online, the school may set up your student teaching at a school in your area—or it might leave you on your own to handle that part of the program. This can be challenging, so be sure your school will work with you to set up a student teacher arrangement at a school near you.

Be sure of the time required

Some teacher certification programs last a few months, while some last as long as a year or two. An online teacher certification program may or may not meet the qualifications for teaching in your state—particularly if it’s located out of state. However, some states have reciprocal agreements with others. Be sure to find out if the length of time it will take to earn a certain school’s certification is satisfactory to your state—and whether, if you earn a certification from a school located outside of your state, your state will accept it as valid.

Be sure it’s approved

Teacher certification programs must be approved by the state in which you plan to teach. Be sure to find out if the program you’re considering has the proper approval before making any commitment. If you don’t, you could find yourself stuck with a certification that public schools won’t accept.

Find out about tuition reimbursement programs

Some school districts, particularly in high-needs areas and for in-demand subjects, will pay some or all of your tuition for a certification program if you agree to teach at their school for a certain number of years. Be sure to find out if any school districts in your area offer this deal to attract new teachers.

Earning your certification isn’t easy—and the qualifications for teaching in public schools have grown more difficult since No Child Left Behind. Online programs can make earning your certification easier, but not all programs are accepted by all states—and most require a certain amount of supervised classroom time. Ask the right questions, and you should be able to find a certification program that’s right for you.


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